Special introduction by New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff
When twelve cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad were published by Denmark’s largest newspaper in 2005, European muslim groups denounced the cartoons as insulting and sacrilegious. To everyone’s surprise, the protests against the Muhammad drawings took a worldwide scale, even leading to violent demonstrations in several Muslim countries. In France, the satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo joined the conversation and reprinted the controversial cartoons, causing an uproar among the country’s growing Muslim population. Months later, the Great Mosque of Paris, the World Muslim League and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France took Charlie Hebdo’s editor Philippe Val to court for defamation and incitement of hatred.
TOUGH BEING LOVED BY JERKS offers a real-time account of the ensuing trial, arguably one most divisive and heated legal proceedings in recent French history. The film features lawyers, witnesses, journalists, editorial conferences, demonstrations of support, as well as the reactions of the prosecutors and Muslim leaders around the world. Given new relevance after the January 7, 2015, attacks at the Charlie Hebdo offices, which left 12 dead and 11 wounded, TOUGH BEING LOVED BY JERKS also features candid interviews (and rarely seen behind-the-scenes moments) with acclaimed Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, such as Cabu, Charb, Tignous and Wolinski, who were killed on January 7. As such, the film offers a unique perspective into the current debate around France’s founding ideals and its current realities.